Too Late to Regret

“Catherine Meredith Singer, it is your thirty second year. Didn’t I make you a promise?”

The woman’s words were a breath above inaudible, so small a sound Catherine could have walked on having not really trusted if she heard the words or not. But the words were there—Catherine heard them.

“It was an accident,” Catherine said. She had been walking out of her office building, a fifty-two story steel and glass structure that the woman was no doubt leaning against now. Catherine didn’t dare look. She could barely decide if breathing was a good idea. The air was cold. The sky was trying to darken, but the lights in the parking lot kept the blackness at bay. Trying, trying…

“Which is why I did not kill you then,” the woman responded, not moving.

“I’m sorry,” Catherine said. She turned toward where she thought the woman’s voice was coming from, but got a sudden sharp pain in her right shoulder for her efforts.

“Do you know why you’re sorry, Catherine?” The woman let a beat fall into the emptiness. “Because you know you’re going to die, not because you’re the cause of someone else’s death. I gave you the time he had and what did you do with it? Something important? Something to define your legacy? Something that meant anything to you?”

The woman began to pace behind Catherine while she spoke.

“There wasn’t enough—” Catherine began.

“—Time?” asked the woman, coming to stand in from of Catherine. “You knew exactly how long you had and you did nothing with it. Fourteen years is time enough when you know that’s what you have.”

“You haven’t aged,” Catherine said. The woman was ghostly white, curling black hair falling over her shoulders. Her eyes…

Her eyes reflected nothing. Black holes bleeding out into the sclerae.

“Catherine Meredith Singer, do you acknowledge your actions fourteen years ago that cost a man his life?” the woman asked.

Catherine nodded, her throat constricting around words.

“Then your time here and now is up,” the woman said. She reached out and touched Catherine on the forehead. Catherine’s body dropped heavy and loud in the coming night.